An introduction to chinchillas

Out of all the small animals, chinchillas are one of the longest lived and one that really needs careful consideration with regards to your future plans.

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Out of all the small animals, chinchillas are one of the longest lived and one that really needs careful consideration with regards to your future plans.

They are beautiful creatures known for their amazing fur and big, saucer ears. Chinchillas can become very tame if they are socialised well. However, they are crepuscular, which means they are more active at dusk and dawn so their activity patterns may not suit all families. If you are thinking about adopting some chinchillas the facts below will help make the decision a little easier.

Fast Facts: 

Companionship:  Chinchillas really do prefer the company of their own kind and are most happy living in small same sex pairs, small groups or a castrated male to one or more females.  

Life expectancy: Chinchillas can live up to 12-20 years 

Accomodation: Chinchillas can be very active and enjoy exploring their surroundings. They are able to gnaw through plastic very easily so choosing a large metal cage with a metal floor is recommended. The ideal size cage for a pair to a small group of Chinchillas is:  159cm high, 93cm wide and 63cm deep. Chinchillas also need to be kept in a cool room away from direct sunlight. 

Diet: Chinchillas are herbivores, they require ample good quality hay, pellets and natural treats such as dried herbs and flowers.   

Health: As chinchillas can live up to 20 years there will be times, they may need to see the vet, it is recommended to find a vet who has specialised in chinchillas for the best possible care. Chinchillas can be prone to dental disease often due to an incorrect diet.  

Family friendly: Some Chinchillas really enjoy human interaction; they will take food from your hands and hop over you during free-range play time. However not all chinchillas enjoy this, and many can find sudden loud noises etc frightening. Because of this they often suit families with slightly older children who are happy to take their time building up a relationship with their new chinchillas.  

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